The singer-songwriter, 31, has been accused of stealing parts of another song for the single, which was released in 2017. He appeared in court on Friday (4 March).
Sheeran’s accusers are songwriters Sami Chokri and Ross O’Donoghue, who claim “Shape of You” was inspired by their very own song, titled “Oh Why”.
They allege that the song has taken “particular lines and phrases” from their own, claiming that Sheeran’s refrain of the words “Oh I” is “strikingly similar” to their delivery of the words “Oh why”.
Judge Antony Zacaroli listened to both songs in court, with Chokri and O’Donoghue’s lawyer Andrew Sutcliffe, telling him they “sound almost identical”.
Sutcliffe, who is the one to have branded Sheeran a “magpie” who “borrows ideas”. stated: “This, of course, does not by itself prove that copying has taken place, but it’s a vital starting point.”
Sheeran’s lawyers previously told the court that the singer and the song’s co-writers have no memory of ever hearing the song “Oh Why”.
The legal battle is expected to last three weeks